Dust in the wind has now become a controversy in terms of government control. The Mono Supervisors recently talked about pulling away from the Great Basin Air Pollution Control District to take charge of their own air pollution. If they did that, the entire District would have to disband.
The Supervisors discussed that citizens have complained that there is overlap with APCD and Mono County in regard to grading permits. So, the Board talked about the option of separation from APCD and taking over the air pollution control authority for Mono County.
Supervisor Byng Hunt supported the regional approach brought by APCD. Hunt pointed out that Mono Lake has issues similar to those at the Owens Dry Lake. In fact, APCD Director Ted Schade recently stated that dust pollution at Mono Lake is an area of focus for his agency.
Monitoring at Mono Lake has gone on for many years and dust from the shore can be seen rising high on windy days.
Supervisors Vikki Bauer and Hap Hazard expressed concern that some APCD rules were designed for other areas and imposed on Mono. Bauer wanted to know what would happen to APCD when DWP stops funding it. She said many counties have their own air pollution control districts.
When asked about these comments, APCD Director Ted Schade said no one had talked to him about concerns. “Let’s fix the problems and not disband the district. We have a variety of air pollution control needs from Death Valley to Markleeville. We do know that one size does not fit all.”
Schade also said that if Mono County pulled out, the air pollution control district would have to disband since the counties involved must be next to each other. Inyo and Alpine could not maintain a district. Another key point – by law, APCD is the only agency that can collect money from DWP. Mono County couldn’t.
Others point to the fact that Schade and the rest of the staff know how to deal with air quality issues and have a proven track record with the major problems of the Owens Dry Lake and serious air quality issues in the past in Mammoth Lakes.